James D. Ellsworth Sr. started in 1961, repairing vehicles in a shop at 1607 E. Maple St. NW. At first, he did the work part time while working a full-time job at a local dealership. He started working at the repair shop full time in 1980.
The business started in a former sheet metal shop that Ellsworth bought in the late 1950s. He built a house in front of the shop.
"I grew up here, with it going on," James D. Ellsworth Jr. said of the body shop.
The younger Ellsworth worked in the shop and learned the business while growing up. Then he went to college and worked several years for a corporation based in Cleveland. In 2002, as his father made plans for retirement, James and his wife, Jami, decided to return to North Canton and keep the business operating.
This past year, Ellsworth replaced the house at the site. While the new building looks like a house with a two-car garage, it has offices, and the garage provides an additional work area.
The business has paint and repair equipment in three buildings, with airflow systems designed to reduce and collect particles, dust and dirt created during the repair process. There are two paint booths for applying, then baking the paint onto a repaired surface, which could be metal or a plastic depending on the vehicle and location of the damage.
The shop uses water-based latex paint systems that are environmentally friendly. Computer programs are used to mix paint colors. "The idea is to mix what you need to minimize waste," Ellsworth said.
A long tradition, word-of-mouth, being active with community groups and working with insurance adjusters all help Jim and Jami Ellsworth keep the family-owned business going. The shop repairs all makes and models.
For more information, visit www.ellsworthautobody.com.
We would like to thank The Canton Rep for reprint permission.